What do I wear when I want to feel smart on an autumn weekend? The one piece that will instantly elevate your look: a knitted jacket.
They are so ageless, looking as good on a six-month-old as a nonagenarian. When knitted jackets became ubiquitous somewhere around the mid-noughties it didn’t matter because they had become like jeans, trench coats or white shirts – not so much a trend as an indispensable category.
But then they disappeared. Not, I think, because we fell out of love with them, but because brands decided they’d better do something new – this was the era of fast, faster, fastest fashion – and when the knitted jackets we owned got tatty, moth-bitten or so baggy our nearest and dearest had to take us aside, there was nothing to replace them with. Then we more or less forgot about them, distracted by shinier, more novel knitwear such as boyfriend cardigans, trophy jumpers and tanks.
The last couple of years, however, I’ve had a hankering for one, especially when I want to feel I’m wearing trackies, without actually resorting to them. I love a blazer, but sometimes, proportionally, you want something a little shorter with a more relaxed, deconstructed feeling.
It’s the same thing with make-up – sometimes invisible tending is all that’s required, the kind that looks as though it’s all nature. For nails, I highly recommend Kure Bazaar’s new free-from-nasties Bubble Vvee nail polish. It’s almost neon in the bottle, but on, it looks like your natural nail-bed colour, but rosier.
Bottega Veneta’s bodycon knitted miniskirt suits in vivid colours, with equally vivid price tags, were an instant hit with fashionistas a couple of years ago, proving that a knitted jacket could be anything but shapeless or frumpy. The Fold has a handful of contoured knitted jackets that create an almost Dior-y nipped in waist effect.
This is about nuance. Knitted jackets can give off boxy vibes (the chic Chanel kind), but shouldn’t literally be cut like one. They can feel cosy, but should look sportiv; this is where most cardigans go wrong in my experience – too much cosy, not enough chic.
A well-tailored knitted cardigan in a robust yarn, like a double-ply merino or a cable-knit that has natural give but will hold its shape, is a truly versatile classic, like denim or peacoats. Look for one with smart buttons or a contrast interior so you can turn back the cuffs (like the one above from Poetry, a brand that is proving to be a reliable source of quietly stylish classics this season).
Add some jewellery – Monica Vinader’s just-launched collaboration with Hollywood stylist Kate Young is so chic and timeless, I’m saving up for it – and you have a go-anywhere look.
Lisa wears: Merino-wool jacket, £325, Winser (winserlondon.com); poplin shirt, £95, With Nothing Underneath (withnothingunderneath.com); wide-leg cropped jeans, £268, Veronica Beard (veronicabeard.com); leather sandals, £165, Bobbies (bobbies.com); recycled gold vermeil bangle, £495, Monica Vinader x Kate Young (monicavinader.com); all other jewellery, Lisa’s own
Five of my favourite buys...
Clockwise from top left: Crochet bomber jacket, £250, Wyse (wyselondon.com); virgin-wool cardigan, £350, Ami (amiparis.com); double-knit cotton jacket, £139, Poetry (poetryfashion.co.uk); merino-wool knitted jacket, £375, The Fold (thefoldlondon.com); nail Polish in Bubble Vvee, £15, Kure Bazaar (johnandginger.co.uk)
Read last week's column: The high street still holds plenty of gems – if you know where to look